By Prince Charles Dickson
So, I went last week to buy a “reliable” made in China Casio calculator, it even had the benefit of also being a scientific calculator too. I just could not trust my regular calculator; the one on my phone as an application, I use that to calculate how much I need to give madam, girlfriend, religious obligations, family trench, utility bills like NEPA abi na DISCO, I use it to add, minus, and multiply especially this January when all kind of fees have to be paid; from school fees, to daily, weekly fuel waka…the expenses are plenty, and indeed income not as plenty.
But truth is I needed this NEW calculator, and to Okechukwu’s Bookshop on Ahmadu Bello way, I went with my friend Adegoke as witness to buy it. After parting with a few lower notes, I was a proud owner of the product.
Wonder why I have teased us with the last two paragraphs on purchasing a mere calculator, I will share with us my admonition on this “calculator” ordeal. Kindly bear with me, as we go through the next few paragraphs.
First despite my Casio being scientific, there was no scientific methodology to really guide me, and you–my dear reader would pardon my clumsy arithmetic, and my mumbo-jumbo procedure but please stay with me briefly, and we will be done.
With my calculator, and a long sheet of plain paper, and a cup of green tea, laced with pure blossom honey, and wheat bread, I was bent on “enjoying” what I predicted would be a nasty exercise.
I started with a few of the Abacha loot that was returned in the last few years…they read like $65,$300, $40, $37 all in millions, and that’s like $442million according to my calculator.
We remember that movie shortly after the oil subsidy protest…it featured a certain Otedola, Farouk and a few special appearances, and $3million vamoosed, only a few days in Kuje, and a visit from members of the Kano legislative house, Farouk went away and sinned no more…Total$445million
How many of remain, the James Bond series, yes James Bond, because any oil related theft is often than not a James Bond sequel…It involved Dan Etete, and his cast, and crew, after all said and done, the Malabu oil deal made sure that $1.1billion developed wings…Total$1.5billion, or before I confuse, 1.1billion dollars jam 445million dollars.
Okay, lets leave dollars small and deal in Naira; I will come back to it.
Do we recall Abubakar Kigo dude, of the ‘police pension things’, he escaped with N33billion, and then Abdulrasheed Maina then disappeared with another N195billion from “pension things” things. TotalN228billion
I am sure we have forgotten that Steve Oransanya, he was supposed to correct something-onething in the civil service or so, by the time he was done, N123billion was allegedly done and gone too. TotalN351billion
At this point, my tea don dey cold, and bread tasteless, while my calculator was getting hot, and I had not reached halfway.
I refused to add the missing “oyel” money during Diezani and Sanusi war, as some say money no miss, and others say money miss but e no reach so-so billion dollars. I rest my case.
I refuse to add the Donatus Dasuki ATM dispensary arrangement because (1) the money no reach me, (2) People are still confessing, returning, and maybe, just maybe, we may hear that APC also have a similar bazar. However I hanged the $2.1billion in one column as “tattered” sorry Chartered Accountants do in Nigeria.
It only gets interesting, as my plain sheet was become littered with figures and zeros in countless repetitions, I came to the governors, there were cases of the known, while other were the unknown.
For example, IN THE KNOWN COLUMN: they” say Joshua took a few millions from Ecological and other funds, James also increased his, it was up to a few billions, the late Alams also helped himself. And Goje printed OXFORD or was it CAMBRIDGE dictionaries for several millions. Add, the Jolly man from Taraba, and my friend Boni, and the bubbling Susan, and his predecessor, just to mention a few. We all remember that Ribadu said that one Sharia dude like that even refused to use a bank, he packed his own dough raw. Infact, in those days some $15million was offered as bribe—Chai, and if Ribadu is to be believed some 30 governors were thieving.
Hence I do not agree with the former EFCC helmsman, let me just do this simple maths, based on the KNOWN COLUMN: Let me say only 20 governors stole, and each stole N1million per month, that would be N12million per year multiplied by 16 years that would equal N192million and then multiply that by just 20 governors, that would be N3.840billion. I added this to our N351billion and we got N354.840 billion
I was beginning to feel dizzy, as I added Perm Secs who stole a few millions, heads of parastatals who helped themselves with some crazy sums through ridiculous subheads, like I recall how millions were in the NNDC budget for funerals, like every staff in the organization must die.
I added the monies that disappeared in millions from Funds, like the Educational Trust Fund, Petroleum Trust Fund, Ecological Trust Fund, Industrial Trust Fund, just check, if the name ended with an F, funds were stolen. I added the ones stolen by our lawmakers, even though it was “stolen legitimately” either via third term, or some allowance or money to do onething-something or buy some car with five tyres. I also added monies that were stolen by local council runs-men and women, monies that disappeared in Ministries.
At this point, my calculator was HOT, RED, and could barely even sure the regular ERROR message, even the scientific part of the calculator was not working, as I had converted the dollar to Naira, and was trying to add up, all my eyes could now see on the once plain paper was an endless count of zeros like big heads.
And in Fela’s words, need “I wonder how this country come take get big head”. My calculator could not continue, I just stared in trance, at how Nigerians were undoing Nigeria, I had barely touched the surface of monumental government stealing, and we are arguing, who stole less, or more or justifying that everyone steals. I end this admonishment asking, oh ye foolish Nigerians, for how much longer—Only time would tell.